2018-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2018-01-17 20:14:45 UTC
2018-01-18 08:18:51 UTC
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Politico reports on a data theft from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) by former employees who now work for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):
Staffers for Senate Republicans’ campaign arm seized information on more than 200,000 donors from the House GOP campaign committee over several months this year by breaking into its computer system, three sources with knowledge of the breach told POLITICO.
[...] Multiple NRSC staffers, who previously worked for the NRCC, used old database login information to gain access to House Republicans’ donor lists this year.
The donor list that was breached is among the NRCC’s most valuable assets, containing not only basic contact information like email addresses and phone numbers but personal information that could be used to entice donors to fork over cash — information on top issues and key states of interest to different people, the names of family members, and summaries of past donation history. The list has helped the NRCC raise over $77 million this year to defend the House in 2018.
Recently published in Journal of Social and Political Psychology by Thomas F. Pettigrew seeks to understand the psychological profile of Trump supporters:
The Trump movement is not singular within the United States (the Know Nothing movement in the 1850s, the Wallace movement in the 1960s, and the more recent Tea Party Movement). Moreover, other democracies have seen similar movements (e.g., Austria's Freedom Party, Belgium's Vlaams Blok, France's National Front, Germany's Alternative for Germany Party (AfD), and Britain's U.K. Independence Party (UKIP).
In virtually all these cases, the tinder especially involved male nativists and populists who were less educated than the general population. But this core was joined by other types of voters as well. Five highly interrelated characteristics stand out that are central to a social psychological analysis – authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, outgroup prejudice, the absence of intergroup contact and relative deprivation.No one factor describes Trump's supporters. But an array of factors – many of them reflecting five major social psychological phenomena can help to account for this extraordinary political event: authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, prejudice, relative deprivation, and intergroup contact.
In May, the bill S.1241 (archive) was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Chuck Grassley, a Republican Senator from Iowa. The bill, if enacted, would call upon the Department of Homeland Security to develop
a strategy to interdict and detect prepaid access devices, digital currencies, or other similar instruments, at border crossings and other ports of entry for the United States
According to a story at btcmanager.com (square brackets in original),
the bill would "criminalize [those] intentionally concealing ownership or control of a [digital currency or digital exchange] account.
The Senate held a meeting about the bill on November 28. Witnesses included Charles Davidson of the Kleptocracy Initiative of the Hudson Institute conservative think tank; Douglas Farah of IBI Consultants, which specializes in "issues of national security, transnational crime, terrorism, terror finance and non-state armed actors"; and Kathryn Haun Rodriguez of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange. Ms. Haun, however, made no mention of cryptocurrency in her testimony (PDF).
[On November 29], Coinbase suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Internal Revenue Service, nearly a year after the case was initially filed. A California federal court has ordered Coinbase to turn over identifying records for all users who have bought, sold, sent, or received more than $20,000 through their accounts in a single year between 2013 and 2015. Coinbase estimates that 14,355 users meet the government's requirements.
President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian ambassador last December during the presidential transition, bringing the special counsel's investigation into the president's inner circle.
Mr. Flynn, who appeared in federal court in Washington, acknowledged that he was cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His plea agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn provided information to prosecutors, which may help advance the inquiry.
People's Liberation Army General Zhang Yang was found hanged at his Beijing home on November 23:
Xinhua said Zhang had "serious disciplinary violations," something [The South China Morning Post] describes as "euphemism for corruption." NPR's Rob Schmitz, reporting from Shanghai, says the general "had disappeared from public sight more than two months ago amidst a crackdown on corruption within military ranks launched by Chinese leader Xi Jinping."
[...] "Xi Jinping's decision to persecute both Xu and Guo after their retirement reflects his determination to put an end to the dominance of Jiang Zemin (his own patron) over the military. As far as the cleaning up of corruption in the Chinese military is concerned, however, this is just the beginning," The Diplomat wrote at the time Guo [Boxiong] was dismissed from the military in 2015.
Also at The South China Morning Post.
NAFTA's Digital Trade chapter could be finalized next month all before the public has seen a single word of it. The fifth round of re-negotiations for NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) finished last week in Mexico and the Digital Trade section might be forced through, unseen by the public, during the next round on December 11th in Washington, DC.
The fifth round of negotiations over a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) wound up last week in Mexico. Following conclusion of the round, Mexican Trade Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters that he hoped that the next round, to be held in Washington, DC in the week of 11 December, could see sufficient progress made that the agreement's Digital Trade chapter could be closed... all before the public has seen a single word of it.
Lauri Love[*], in the UK, is facing extradition requests from three separate US court districts and a potential 99 year prison sentence for his alleged involvement in the online protests that followed the death of Aaron Swartz. Depsite no evidence offered by the US, the British courts have preliminarily agreed to extradition and his appeal will be on the 28th and 29th of November. Again, no evidence has been presented against him, but if he were tried in the UK he would be facing a maximum of 32 months in prison, not 99 years as the US is aiming for.
[*] According to Wikipedia's entry for Lauri Love:
Lauri Love is a Finnish-British activist charged extraterritorially with stealing data from United States Government computers including the US Army, Missile Defense Agency, and NASA via computer intrusion.
Previously: Lauri Love to be Extradited to the U.S.
The US is to stop supplying arms to the Syrian Kurdish militia the YPG, Turkey has said. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said President Donald Trump had made the promise in a phone call to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The White House said it was making "adjustments" to its support for partners inside Syria but did not explicitly name the YPG.
Turkey has long complained about US support for the group. Washington has viewed the YPG as a key player in the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS), but Ankara brands the group's fighters as terrorists. Turkey says the YPG is as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group it has been fighting for decades in south-eastern Turkey. The US, however, has seen the YPG as distinct from the PKK. In May it announced it would supply arms to the Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which were poised to drive IS from its stronghold of Raqqa. It had previously armed only Arab elements of the SDF.
A major oil-by-rail terminal proposed on the Columbia River in Washington state poses a potential risk of oil spills, train accidents and longer emergency response times due to road traffic, an environmental study has found.
Many of the risks could be decreased with certain mitigation measures, but the study released Tuesday outlined four areas where it said the impacts are significant and cannot be avoided.
The study said that while "the likelihood of occurrence of the potential for oil spills may be low, the consequences of the events could be severe."
[...] The study identified the four risks that could not be avoided as train accidents, the emergency response delays, negative impacts of the project on low-income communities and the possibility that an earthquake would damage the facility's dock and cause an oil spill.